What inspired you to start Don't Call Me Pretty?
As part of my Thesis project in college we were asked to choose a societal issue that really bothered us to our core. So I started studying body image issues for women in performance based industries like modeling and acting. At the time I was working in the fashion and entertainment industries and was surrounded by people doing the same. I felt so much pressure to look and be a certain way and realized that I needed to learn to find my value outside of just the way I look. That’s where Don’t Call Me Pretty was born. I then used my digital marketing expertise to build the Instagram account and just started putting what I was feeling out there and it was so cool to see that my message resonated with people all over the world. It’s been a healing process for me that I get to share with thousands of other strangers on the internet (lol). I’ve learned to love and value myself in ways that I hope inspires others to do the same.
How do you define success for yourself?Feeling happy and fulfilled in the work that I’m doing and having financial freedom from doing that work. It’s really important to me that whatever I write, post, publish, etc. has an impact on people in a positive way so if I’m doing that, I think I’m achieving that goal.
How do you deal with the push back you've received from being an influencer?
I’ve been working in the influencer space since 2012 starting with my first internship working for a well known fashion blogger. I helped her make her transition from being a high powered entertainment exec to full time blogger and realized that it could be a real career path. Later I worked in influencer relations for multiple digital marketing agencies so I’ve always understood the power influencers have. However, for years I didn’t want to call myself that word because I felt that it was associated with a culture that felt vapid and void of anything meaningful. It wasn’t until I started connecting with other heart-centered creatives who use their platforms in an intentional and creative way that I started to own being an influencer. Now when I receive pushback I just talk about the positive DMs I get from followers and the money I make from partnerships and then they realize the value.
What makes you a Winged Woman?
I’m never afraid to take a risk and prioritize my well being over anything else in my life. For example, I just spent almost three months living in London with a friend and traveling to a handful of European cities solo. I needed the shift in perspective in order to find my next move forward, which is writing my book!
Lastly, what's one thing you would say to your younger self if you could?To be more kind to myself and my body and not care so much about how it looks and be more grateful for what it can do! I was pretty good at sports in junior high and high school and spent half the time worrying about how my body looked in my water polo suit. I wish girls were taught to celebrate the power of their bodies at an early age instead of ripping them apart. Let’s work towards changing that.
Thank you, Aly Nagel, for sharing what makes you a Winged Woman. To learn more about Aly and the latest from Don't Call Me Pretty, follow her at @aly_nagel and @DontCallMePretty_.